Malavita

Written by Tonino Benacquista | June 25, 2013
Malavita (Penguin, june 2013)

Imagine The Sopranos transplanted to the French countryside….
 
This thrillingly comic, internationally bestselling Mafia farce is the inspiration for the major motion picture The Family starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones, and produced by Martin Scorsese.

The Blakes are newcomers to a small town in Normandy. Fred is a historian researching the Allied landings, Maggie enjoys charity work, and their kids are looking forward to meeting other teenagers at the local lycée. Or so it seems.

In fact, Fred is really Giovanni Manzoni, an ex-goodfella turned stool pigeon who’s been relocated from New Jersey to France by the FBI’s witness protection program. He’s got a two-million-dollar bounty on his head, but he and his family can’t help attracting attention (imagine the Sopranos in Normandy). And when imprisoned mobster Don Mimino gets wind of their location, it’s Mafia mayhem à la Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper, or like The Godfather as if written by Carl Hiaasen. Because while you can take the man out of the Mafia, you can’t take the Mafia out of the man.


Tonino Benacquista, born in France in 1961 of Italian immigrants, dropped out of film studies to finance his writing career. After being, in turn, a museum night-watchman, a train guard on the Paris-Rome line and a professional parasite on the Paris cocktail circuit, he is now a highly successful author of fiction, film scripts and even graphic novels.

Benacquista won a Cesar (French Oscar) in 2006 for the script of Jacques Audiard's 'The Beat That My Heart Skipped' with Romain Duris. The film is a creative remake of 'Fingers' (1978), the first film directed by James Toback and starring Harvey Keitel. A rare instance where the remake is a giant improvement on the original.

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